Today bwin.party announced the departure of eight year CEO Jim Ryan, who was instrumental in orchestrating the merger with bwin. On January 15, 2013 Norbert Teufelberger will assume the role as sole CEO of the entire bwin.party group.
Jim Ryan (left), Norbert Teufelberger
What does this mean for PartyPoker?
Let's not beat around the bush: Jim Ryan and his managerial decisions were great for poker and it's sad to see him leaving bwin.party. He was wise to hire key people and poker room managers who truly cared about poker and making Party great, like like Mike O'Malley who no longer works on the poker side of bwin.party. This absence of Jim Ryan will mean bwin.party will continue to focus more on solely the bwin (re: casino) arm of the brand.
But can you blame them? Poker revenues have continued to slide, the poker market is fragmenting as more European countries are choosing to run iGaming domestically (breaking EU law, but that's another story). Luckily for bwin they continue to keep the board satisfied with fairly consistent revenue growths from casino, a much larger part of the business than poker. Teufelberger knows his cash cow for now is casino, and is wise to treat poker as a "rising star," or potential future money maker if/when legislation changes in the United States market.
While that kind of decision making might make Norbert Teufelberger a good poker player, it certainly isn't good for PartyPoker.